By Aaron Earls
As temperatures begin to rise, so does the number of people searching online for local Vacation Bible Schools.
According to analysis of Google search trends, online searches for VBS and Vacation Bible School spike every year in June.
Is your church ready for the cyber visitors? Here are five ways to draw more online attention to your VBS with the hopes that you have more real-life visitors.
Have contact information readily available. Say parents find your church’s website while searching for VBS. That’s great, but what if they can’t find your location or any contact information?
While few people may call your church, make it as easy as possible for visitors looking to connect with your church this summer.
Sure, most people will be able to navigate Google maps to find your location. But give simple directions to your church for any apprehensive parent looking for a local VBS.
Make sure your website is up to date. It’s not enough to have information online—you have to make sure it’s correct and current.
If people discover your church or your VBS while online, it will not help them or your church if all the information is outdated.
Every few months and right before big events like VBS and Christmas, go through your website to make sure everything is current.
Have a consistent VBS page on your website. The easiest and most helpful web address would be YourChurch.com/VBS, but whatever address you choose, make it something that can be used each year.
Before VBS, print the web address on all your promotional material and post fun videos on the site to get students and volunteers excited. During the week, update parents on all that is happening. After it’s over, use the webpage to promote VBS-related outreach activities.
As school starts back, start promoting next year’s VBS by giving the dates and posting some of the fun activities from this year. If you want to keep all the old material online, create a year-specific page like YourChurch.com/2017VBS.
Promote your VBS through other online sites. While your church might not be the first to show up on someone’s Google search results, there’s a good chance a combined list of local Vacation Bible Schools will be high on the page.
Submit your VBS to local papers, Christian music stations, and even popular local parenting websites or Facebook groups.
The point is not necessarily to have people find your website online. The goal is for your church to attract more visitors for VBS.
Post on social media. Parents may never think to Google “VBS,” but they’ll probably scan through Facebook between now and the kickoff of your Vacation Bible School.
Encourage your church members to post on social media about the upcoming VBS. Ask all of the volunteers to share on social media why they’re excited about participating in your Vacation Bible School.
Create an image to share on social media with all the relevant information about your VBS. Post it on your social media accounts and ask church members to share.
Drawing as many kids as possible to your VBS will allow you to follow up with them throughout the year and hopefully see some families come to Christ.
AARON EARLS (Aaron.Earls@LifeWay.com) is online editor of Facts & Trends.